July 2018
Economic Development eNewsletter
Strong economic performance in the first half of 2018
The Economic Development Division tracks economic data available at the municipal, provincial, and national level to help monitor market changes and growth. The Prince George economy continues to excel with very positive growth and investment in the first half of 2018. 

Year-to-date highlights for Prince George:
  • Total value of building permits year-to-date (January 1 to June 30) issued by the City of Prince George for 2018 was $99.9 million. This is a 103.2% increase over 2017 when year-to-date the value of building permits issued was $49.1 million.
  • Residential building permits remain strong with $52.7 million issued compared to the same time last year when residential building permits issued were valued at $33.4 million. This is a 57.9% increase in residential building permits over last year at this time.
  • Non-residential permits, including commercial, industrial, and institutional permits, have increased from $15.8 million in 2017 to $47.2 million in 2018 in the first half of the year. This is a 199.1% increase over 2017 building permits for non-residential.
  • 177 new houses sold through January to June 2018, an increase of 210% over 2017 when 57 new houses sold. The average price for new houses sold was $466,238 for June 2018, slightly up from 2017 when it was $446,951.
  • Housing construction continues to thrive with 67 single family dwelling starts and 29 multiple family unit starts as well as 55 single family dwelling completions and 173 multiple family unit completions.
  • New business licenses are on the rise as well with 273 new business licenses issued year-to-date for 2018 compared to 190 new business licenses in 2017, this is a 43.7% increase in new business license registrations.
  • The Prince George Airport (YXS) reported passenger numbers growing with 251,319 passengers enplaning or deplaning in the first six months of 2018. This is a 5.5% increase in passengers from 2017 when the volume was 238,250 in the same time period.
Strong growth in the construction sector continues to fuel very positive economic results for Prince George. Additional projects on the horizon for 2018 will continue this encouraging trend. These projects include: renovations to the University Hospital of Northern BC, a new bulk plant on Terminal Blvd., a 151 unit condo development downtown, the new state-of-the-art Kelly Road Secondary School, the new affordable housing project on 3rd Ave., a new fire hall, and a new swimming pool downtown. 

Watch for our Economic Updates each month to stay informed in 2018.
Share your business insights with us
The Economic Development Division is inviting local business managers and owners to take part in our Business Insights 2018 survey.This is a unique opportunity to meet directly with City staff, learn about programs and services available, and share your business insights about the local economy. 

T his in-person survey, which is part of the 2018 Business Retention & Expansion outreach initiative, will provide staff with a view of many important factors including:
  • the local economy;
  • workforce and business trends and challenges;
  • expansion and market opportunities; and
  • potential investment attraction ideas.
Please reach out to Joanna.Johnston@princegeorge.ca or call 250-561-7633 for more information. Thank you for your continued dedication to helping the Prince George business community to grow and thrive.

Check out this new business
Blissful Bubbles Boutique - From home-based business moms to storefront moms

On May 1, 2018 Kim Gardner and Kelly Scott, who went to high school together, boldly leaped into storefront retail with their former home-based business, opening up at the Hart Shopping Mall. When Lush closed its doors this year, it renewed inspiration for these two business owners to envision and create the store they have always dreamed of. Their husbands pitched in their carpentry skills to help them develop a truly lovely atmosphere and adorable store. These moms have learned to balance business ownership, marriage, family, and motherhood while letting their business saavy spirits soar.

Blissful Bubbles Boutique is a treat for the senses with wonderful smells, colours, and bath creations of every imaginable kind as well as great gift ideas. They also host bath creation parties, birthday parties, build custom gift baskets, and have the line of KISS products for those with sensitivities. All their products are 100% from BC, and 90% are local. They also support other local entrepreneurs by selling their creations and products as well.

Check out their Facebook page and p op into their new store soon. They are located next to Save-On-Foods and close to North Hart Dental. Make sure to visit the other specialty stores springing up at the Hart Shopping Mall.

Funding for clean technology projects
If you have a clean technology project in mind, you could be eligible to receive funding through one or more of the following Government of Canada clean technology programs:
  • Research and development
    • Agricultural Clean Technology Program: The Government of Canada is making available a $25 Million, 3 year investment (2018-2021) to support research, development, and adoption of clean technologies through investments in, and promotion of precision agriculture and agri-based bioproducts. Applications are currently being accepted for projects that must be completed by March 31, 2021.
  • Growing your clean tech business
    • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC): BDC is making available new equity and debt financing to help promising clean technology firms grow and invest in assets, inventory, talent, and market expansion. Contact BDC for details.
  • Adoption of market-ready technologies
    • Low Carbon Economy Fund (LCEF): Funding to support clean growth and climate change commitments related to buildings, the industrial sector, agriculture, and forestry, and other priorities. This fund supports market-ready technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The partnerships stream will be open for applications later in 2018.
  • General innovation
    • Strategic Innovation Fund: This fund consists of primarily repayable contributions to firms of all sizes across all sectors through four streams: R+D, growth and expansion, attracting and retaining large-scale investments, and advanced industrial research. Streams 1-3 are open for application.
Year-to-date investment inquiries in 2018
The Economic Development Division tracks the number of investors who contact City Hall for information about locating or expanding a business in Prince George. 

We have received 27 Prospect and an additional 5 General inquiries so far in 2018. A Prospect inquiry is considered to be a serious investor, while a General inquiry is often only looking for economic information.

Take a look at the following charts to get a sense of where the interest is coming from.
View commercial real estate listings available in Prince George
The Economic Development Division recently added a commercial real estate listing service to its website. This service is powered by SpaceList and is available to view or list properties for free. 
The changing face of downtown Prince George
2018 is showing growth in the downtown that the city hasn't seen in decades. Read this story in the Business Examiner to find out what developments are causing the change.
Make downtown your ground
There's a new energy in downtown Prince George!

Whether it's joining friends for a brew and a bite after work, fitting a quick workout into your busy day, taking in live music or an art show, picking up some food at the Downtown Farmers' Market, browsing through shops, or watching a local sports team, there are so many reasons to make downtown your ground.

Find out more about what's happening in the downtown by watching this video.

Shaw and CityWest fibre upgrades
There have been two big announcements so far in 2018 about the increased fibre connectivity in the north and on the coast. Shaw is going to connect Prince George with Dawson Creek, while CityWest is going to connect to the BC coast and Vancouver via a sub-sea fibre-optic cable.
Combined, these projects will add two redundant fibre loops for Prince George, for a total of three loops. Redundant loops increase the competitive advantage for Prince George in attracting data centres.
The Dawson Creek project is expected to be complete in 2020, while the coastal project is expected to be complete in 2021.
How to reach us
We're available to answer all of your investment related questions, to assist you with acting on business growth opportunities and overcoming challenges, and to provide workforce attraction and retention tools and services. If you have any questions related to these areas, please email us at ecdev@princegeorge.ca or call 250-561-7633.
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